And the most important skill for creative leadership today is…
…Communication. Shocking? Not so much.
Billionaire Richard Branson considers himself a student of communication, vouching that “communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” He quotes business author Brian Tracy, “Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
Search an article on the most important leadership traits, and you’ll likely find sub-skills of communication such as empathy, motivating others, and facilitating group conversations.
Communication is leadership.
Communication involves honesty, expressing your vision to people and getting them to mobilize by the sheer power of that message. Communication is a vehicle for your vision and for what you want to achieve. It is an art: something that can be trained and honed.
And at its core, communication is listening. Listening, and then processing the information, integrating it within yourself, listening to your own natural response that emerges, and then producing that response in a way sensitive to your environment. This is what is taught at Knowmads.
According to Otto Scharmer, author of Theory U: Leading from the future as it emerges, there are four levels of listening: downloading, factual, empathic, and generative.
- Downloading is passive listening; reconfirming habitual judgments. Consuming social media takes place here.
- Factual listening is paying attention to facts and processing at a critical level; this is the home of scientific reasoning.
- The third stage, empathic listening, shifts to an entirely new system of processing: the emotional. Here you allow yourself to step into the story of another, and are able to feel and perceive how someone experiences the world. You comprehend with your heart.
- And the fourth stage of listening, generative, is where the innovation for change takes place. It is “listening from the emergent field of future possibility” to create new solutions together.
At Knowmads we regularly do exercises to strengthen the third and fourth stages of communication. The honesty required is part of why each Tribe forms such a tight-knit bond.
Not only limited to spoken communication…
We’ve seen a spike in written communication tools as ways of organizing and displaying information. Techniques like graphic facilitation, writing for digital marketing, and persuasive writing skills go hand-in-hand with ones that involve spoken communication.
Communication Skills Workshops
Workshops at Knowmads that are specifically designed around communication skills are:
- Leadership (touching specifically on Otto Schamer’s stages of listening)
- Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
- Art of Hosting
- Communicating for social change
- Presentation skills
- Authentic relating
- Program co-creation
- Graphic facilitation
In addition to giving you new strategies and ways of thinking about communication, these workshops will illuminate your strengths, weaknesses, and own personal way of communicating in various situations.
A lot has to do with tapping into your own truth; your own authenticity. Not only will this dramatically improve your personal life, it will spill over into your professional life and give you a new kind of clarity. You will become a leader.
When communication is stretched further, it becomes a vehicle for change. According to Dr. Rachel MK Headley of Rose Group International, “The most powerful change skill is leveraging your people’s natural inclination to be creative through transitions. Harness that energy, and leaders will be unstoppable” (Forbes). Communicating in such a way that you activate the talent, passion, and inspiration of other people is how global movements are sparked.
This is the number one leadership skill to have – And you could be learning it too. Our 19th class, Tribe 19, starts in March 2019. Several spots are still open for the curious ones ready to dream, to dare, to dig into their strengths, and launch their ideas into action! Apply here while spaces are still open.